Dubbed into English, Fist of Legend starring Jet Li begins in the early 1900s when the Japanese seized control of China. Living in this militant society, Jet Li begins the movie by standing up to a large group of Japanese military police forcing Li to leave the school as he is Chinese and not allowed in a Japanese school. Immediately a fight breaks out (the first of the film) and you see straight away that the style of fighting in this movie is more graphic than most other movies in this genre. For example, his punches don't merely make a guy lean over and make a loud high pitched squeal, nor does his kicks make 20 guys fall over in a row. Instead he breaks, mangles, and mames each attack thrown upon him. He breaks the enemies arms and you hear the loud cracks of them. I knew from this point that this would be quite an entertaining flick.
As the movie progresses, I was quite surprised to see that the storyline was actually followed through; usually in foreign martial art films the storyline or plot is simply that - and used solely to get the movie started and to give a rough line to follow, the rest of the movie is usually just non stop fighting. Fist of Legend actually gets you somewhat involved into the storyline, and when the fights do break out, they have much more meaning as a result of this.
Another thing that I noticed is how Jet Li's acting differed from almost every other actor/actress in the movie. He has a serious look all the time, and seems very focused. I must admit that I have not seen a lot of Li's movies so I cannot really compare his acting, so either he did a great job of acting in this film, or else that is his normal way of doing so.
Another thing to take note, is how well the dubbed dialoge is. Usually half the script is re-written so that the voice actors can speak in synch with the body actors' mouths. This usually leads to either (a) very annoying, and badly timed speech (voice still 2 seconds after the person closed their mouth) or (b) the English version of the script is horrible. However Fist of Legend has superb voice overs and you do not notice it through the rest of the film.
There are only two downsides in this film. The first being the acting; While Li does a satisfactory job, everybody else is always too excited and overly anxious. This is seen a lot in martial art movies, however Fist of Legend takes a more serious approach, and the acting could of lived up to this as well. Secondly, I always prefer realism in movies, thus when fights break out (this is almost explicitly in the final battle) these martial artists are seemenly as strong as Superman. They punch through a 2 foot thick statue like it is paper, and they can swing their forarm and cut a leaf in half.
Minus these two points, Fist of Legend is one of the best modern day Martial Arts flicks, and I strongly recommend you rent it, or buy it below.
What do you think of Fist of Legend
Share your opinions on our forum